As Game of Thrones suits up for one last swordfight a phalanx of enraged viewers large enough to flatten the massed armies of Westeros is voicing its displeasure over what they consider a botched ending to the beloved show — with some even clamouring for a do-over.
Since its first episode eight years ago the HBO show about noble families vying for the Iron Throne has picked up just about every award going on the way to becoming a global ratings smash and a cultural phenomenon.
But its legacy is under threat from an increasingly vocal section of fans furious over what they consider poor writing in the shortened final two seasons, after the script had moved beyond the source novels by American writer George RR Martin.
A Change.org petition called “Remake Game of Thrones Season 8 with competent writers” was approaching 850,000 signatures early Friday, ahead of Sunday’s finale.
“There’s been a lot of negativity about the windup, but I think it’s just because people don’t want ANY ending,” tweeted horror author Stephen King, one of the show’s most high-profile fans.
“But you know what they say: All good things…”
One source of discontent is a dramatically sped-up narrative arc that has seen central character Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) descend suddenly and incongruously into atrocity-committing madness.
“Turning one of the top two heroes in the game into a villain is something that you have to really set up straight… to have the fan base just go along with it,” said entertainment host A Ron Hubbard on his top-rated “Game of Thrones: The Podcast.”
“It’s just that I don’t think they did the job particularly well.”
Other fans are equally bewildered by the moral regression of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s Jaime Lannister — an unambiguous bad guy back in 2011 whose redemptive arc over seven seasons was one of the most interesting aspects of the show’s scrupulous, patient plotting.
“It feels like some of the characters’ arcs are false because they’re not given enough time to play out,” said University of Northern Illinois medieval history professor Valerie Garver, who accused showrunners David Benioff and D B Weiss of “rushing” the truncated, six-episode final season.